Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Underhand consultation on plans to scrap rural phone boxes
However on Saturday I received my copy of the Council’s Members Digest which contained a report from the Council’s Planning Manager setting out BT removal plans and saying that objections had to be returned by 12th July. This certainly set alarm bells ringing.
Firstly the list of telephone boxes down for removal was large, with the boxes at Haughton, Derrington, Knightly, Norbury, Outwoods, and Bromstead also included. In total 33 telephone boxes in the Borough area are down for removal!
Secondly the return date for objections given in the various boxes had already passed - 13th June and not the 12th July as was in the Council’s note. To make matters worse the notices in the box say objections should be sent to the Planning department at the Local Authority who will collate the returns. However BT don’t say who the Authority is or give the address!
So what exactly is happening? Well having now made more enquiries the whole consultation process seems to be little more than a farce! BT have given the public one set of dates and no address where the objections should be sent and the Council have completely different dates and are wondering why they have not received more that a handful of responses.
I for one just wonder whether this is complete incompetency on behalf of BT or just a cleaver scheme to insure there is little opposition the their plans!
Friday, June 13, 2008
What is the true cost of the planning appeal process
While an appeal is not really big news the difference with this one was that it is the fifth appeal on this particular site. The site in question is rather narrow but is even more constrained by the fact that a sewer and a culvert run through it and as such the other four appeals were all refused by the Planning Inspector for a variety of reasons.
The newspaper rang to talk about how much these appeals were costing the ratepayer, especially as the latest was going to be dealt with by way of a public hearing. Unfortunately I was not much help so I had to refer the caller to the Council’s Planning Department.
What is clear is that as the Planning laws stand the owner of any site can keep putting in planning applications so long as they are significantly different and if refused can keep going to appeal. While there will be little or no cost to the applicant the Council will have to pay for officers time to collect together the information the Planning Inspector wants, and as is the case with this latest appeal will have to pay for the officers to attend the hearing.
Of course the planning system is rather one-sided and had any of the applications on this site been approved the local residents who had objected to the proposal would not have had the same chance to appeal against the decision. So which ever way you look at it the local residents and council tax payers who come off worse in this appeal process.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Conservatives miss Post Office closure dead-line
In a blaze of local publicity Jeremy Lafroy proudly announced that accompanied by County Councillor Mark Winnington he was off to London to deliver a petition signed by local people opposed to post office closures.
Unfortunately what the Tories seemed to have forgotten was that the final date for public consultation on the closure plans was Monday 9th June. They made the journey to London on Tuesday 10th !
One local resident of Great Bridgeford has already asked me why Conservatives had failed to realise they were 24 hours late. Unfortunately I couldn’t give him an answer!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Roads melt in the hot weather
However the really hot weather of the past few days has brought a new problem as the exposed tar melted! Driving along Long Lane was just like driving on treacle and I, like a lot of other residents have since been struggling to remove tar spots from my car
When I first raised the problem with the County Council last year they agreed there was a problem and they promised that remedial work would be carried out as part of this years road maintenance programme. They also told me that these two roads were not the only one in Staffordshire to be affected and that other local authorities across the Country were also having similar problems.
What is even more worrying is that no one seems willing to take responsibility for any damage that might be caused to vehicles. Only last week I heard from one resident who had tried to make an insurance claim against the Council only to have the details passed to the Contractors who carried out the work. They in turn said they were not responsible and he should pursue his claim through the Council!
This situation cannot continue and it really is time the County Council not only held their hands up and admitted they and their contractors were at fault and that they would pay for any damage but that they would also make resurfacing the two roads their top priority!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Residents worried about possible increase in heavy vehicle numbers
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Does Tory panic show real commitment?
At the Council meeting in April it was unanimously agreed that a letter should be sent to the Government objecting to the Post Office closure plans and asking for more time to be given to allow proper consultation with the residents who would be affected. However despite all the harsh words that were spoken in the meeting that night and the plethora of press stories about the Tories local campaign to save those Post Offices under threat, it took a month before the letter was finally sent!
At the same meeting it was agreed to set-up an all party working group to look at ways of both fighting the closures and if necessary to try to find alternative ways of providing the service. Since that day I have asked time and time again when the first meeting of the group was going to be held. Well surprise, surprise – on Wednesday I received a letter say the meeting was taking place at 2.30pm on Thursday. Talk about last minute panic! However it seems that the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for resources had just discovered that the deadline for public comment on the Post Office closure plans ended next Monday, so if the meeting had not been called then it would have been too late for the Council to get their comments in!
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]